Virgin coconut oil hailed as cure for Alzheimer’s


TREE OF LIFE. A farmer in Dumaguete City climbs up a 20-foot coconut tree to gather coconut sap known as tuba which his wife will cook into coco sugar or ferment into coconut gin called “lambanog” to provide livelihood to his family. The tree is known for its many other uses, which makes it one of the most versatile trees in the tropics. Coconut Week ends Sunday with an exhibit and sale of coconut products at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. MANDY NAVASERO/CONTRIBUTOR

After previous claims as an antiseptic, AIDS cure, anti-infective, cholesterol-basher, and remedy for various aches and pains, coconut oil is now being hailed as a possible miracle cure for Alzheimer’s.

The American physician, who has been dubbed “Dr. Coconut” for his tireless research into and championing of coconut oil’s healing properties, is back in the country bringing the latest breakthrough in the management of Alzheimer’s and other neurological conditions.

Dr. Bruce Fife presented his evidence at the ongoing 10th Coconut Festival in Mandaluyong City,  relating the remarkable recovery of Steve Newport, 58, from five years of progressive dementia after just 35 days of taking virgin coconut oil (VCO).

Fife has written all about it in his book, “Stop Alzheimer’s Now.”

Newport’s case history

Newport was diagnosed when an MRI scan showed his brain had shrunk, a classic case of Alzheimer’s disease, the progressive, degenerative form of dementia that involves the loss of brain functions and extreme behavioral changes.

Newport’s wife Mary, who is a neonatal doctor at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida, then began a relentless quest to seek a cure that would arrest his deterioration.

“It has been a nightmare to watch his decline and I feel helpless to do anything but watch it happen,” said Mary.

In May 2008, Mary stumbled on a company that was enlisting volunteers to test a new drug for dementia-stricken patients. But like all experimental drugs, the company preferred subjects with moderate forms of the disease, based on how they scored in the MMSE (mini-mental state exam), a standard test of mental status used to screen for Alzheimer’s.

Newport took the test twice and failed. He scored too low, shown to be on the border of severe dementia, to qualify as an experimental subject. Mary was devastated.

MCT miracle ingredient

Possessed of a research background, Mary was able to dig up the results for the new drug called AC-1202 (later known as Axona). She learned from the journal, BMC Neuroscience, that the active ingredient in the drug was MCT (medium-chain triglycerides), an oil that is used to treat epilepsy and also placed in hospital feeding programs for newborns.

Bingo! She knew as a pediatrician that babies needed to develop their brains with the right brain foods and MCT was found in great quantities in VCO, the oil extracted from the fresh meat of coconuts.

Intuitively, she started Newport on a feeding program. Instead of using Axona at $100 per month with 1 dose a day, Mary used VCO—at a cost of $10 a month—giving him 2 tablespoons of a mixture of VCO and its pharmaceutical isolate, MCT, with every meal.

Because of the high amounts of saturated fat in this diet, some have expressed concern about how this could affect blood cholesterol levels.

According to Fife, Newport’s tests have dispelled this notion and in fact his cholesterol levels have actually improved with the good cholesterol (HDL) going up and the bad cholesterol (LDL) going down.

In 18 months, Newport’s severe dementia was totally arrested. He scored high enough in the MMSE tests to be considered to be in the mild range of Alzheimer’s.

Tale of hope, persistence

Inspired by her husband’s recovery, Dr. Mary Newport travels all over the United States telling her story of hope and persistence. She encourages the medical scientific community to keep on with their research into the use of MCTs as a therapeutic aid in treating Alzheimer’s, as well as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative disorders.

In March 2009, the experimental drug AC-1202 was renamed Axona and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a medical food for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease with no therapeutic claims.

When Axona finally came out, it caused intestinal distress and diarrhea among some patients. Others reported that the drug’s effects wore out after only a few hours that they still had to take coconut oil to maintain their ketone levels. Ketones are organic compounds that result when body fat is broken down for energy.

Fife explained that drugs become ineffective after some time and coconut oil, converted into ketones, decrease the formation of free radicals that damage the cells. Hence, coconut oil is especially important for those taking medications.

“Following the Newports’ example, many people with neurologic disorders are now incorporating coconut oil into their diets with good results,” said Fife.

Brain food

He said if any food could be labeled as brain food it would be coconut oil.

According to Fife, coconut oil, converted into ketones, acts as a superfuel to the brain and normalizes brain function, stops the erratic signal transmissions that leads to seizures, and improves cognition and memory.

The MCTs in coconut oil are converted into ketones, which act as high-potency fuel for the brain. The ketone MCTs provide energy to the brain and stimulate healing and repair, he said.

The chemical structure of the MCTs and fatty acids in coconut oil enable them to pass through the blood-brain barrier, which ordinary food or oil cannot break into, he said.

Revived coco industry

Fife credits his visits to the Philippines as triggering his pursuit of coconut research. He said his first visit in 2004 was an eye opener for him. He was amazed at the warm reception he got from his Philippine audience.

“They were thanking me for reviving the coconut industry,” he said.

It was the economic implications for the people that have spurred Fife to continue his research into the health benefits of this tropical food endemic to the country, so much so that the American health community has dubbed him “Dr. Coconut.”

Fife has established a nonprofit organization, Coconut Research Center, to educate the public on the health and nutritional aspects of coconut. He has documented his researches in two books, “Coconut Cures” (2005) and “Coconut Water” which he has made available online in

The author has been active in the coconut industry for 35 years, and is a director of the Philippine Coconut Authority governing board.

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  • Nor Muss Estudillo

    This is wonderful, we do have a lot of coconut trees. Coconut tree is a wonder tree. It is known that every part of the tree have been used one way or the other. Even the midriff have it on uses as walis, silhig, broom.Nothing is wasted on a coconut tree. City folks might not know all the attribute  the coconut tree have, but town folks, barios way way in the boondicks knows and uses every bit part of the coconut tree. Remember copra. it once boost Philippines industries.

  • Anonymous

    You should be interviewing Dr. Newport who is a REAL doctor instead of Fife who is just an author. He does not practice and is not licensed – he has no patients. He just writes about other people and their research. He wrote his first book on coconut oil long before 2004 when he visited the Philippines. Filipino researchers like Dr. Dayrit should be credited with reviving the industry, not this American.

    • Sol Dolor Jr

      He did not write this news you idiot, it was Cesar Villariba..

  • Anonymous

    As a scientist myself, I am very skeptical. While it may be true, it still needs to be proven with a clear, large controlled study. This should be easy, since there are no cures for Alzheimers and VCO isn’t toxic, so all you need is to conduct a clearcut study.  My skepticism here is:  If what is claimed is true, then major groups would be funding a trial immediately since it is relatively inexpensive compared to the possible return (a cure for Alzheimers would be immediately a billion dollar industry).  Do we really think that Pfizer, Merck and the other big companies would not be testing this if true.  Or that the US or Philippine National Institutes of Health would not be all over this if true?  Seriously, if these people did believe it, they would be raising venture capital immediately, founding their own medical company, doing the trials, etc. The fact that there is no independent medical trial that has show this really makes me very, very skeptical.  

    • Daniel


      since there is no cure yet for Alzheimers, I think Pfizer, Merck and other big companies are already scrambling to be the first one to find the cure. Imagine the amount of investment they have spent on this. Now, what happens to those investments when somebody else finds as cure that is as cheap and adundant as VCO?  I would not be surprised that another study would be released that VCO is bad for the health as what happened in the 70’s. Go ahead and be skeptical, but something tells me that you will give VCO a try if you have Alzheimers. 

      • Anonymous

        Actually, that’s not how it works – if VCO was true, then they would be fighting each other to be the first to take it and develop it further.  OR, the people that say it is useful would be staring a medical start-up company and going to venture capital firms for investment to commercialize.  Can you imagine if you are a venture capitalist and someone came to you with a potential Alzheimers cure backed by decent data?  They would immediately invest several millions. So my big fear is that the people who are promoting this are preying on a gullible and desperate public.  And this is easy enough to settle – someone do a good, well-controlled study.  It really isn’t that difficult. I actually think a study would not cost that much, as you will be enrolling patients who have no cure anyway, and VCO is non-toxic, so I bet you could get hundred of volunteers immediately. 

  • Anonymous

    I am open to so-called “traditional” medicine and “alternative” medicine, but I cannot help but look at suspicion at panaceas or cure alls.  I cannot help but get the feeling that these are attempts to promote industry.

  • Anonymous

    So for those who are interested, here is a simple way to test the claims.  Find several hundred Alzheimers patients (you usually can find volunteers at hospitals).  Have them take the mental cognitive test for Alzheimers (it takes about 15 minutes) and record their score.  Feed half of them VCO for a month and the other half another oil (say soybean oil).  After a month, have them take the exam again.  Run a statistical analysis on the difference in scores after the treatment and before, and see if those taking VCO have a statistically significant improvement over those taking soybean oil (controlling for effects of age and gender).  If you start now, I don’t see why VCO proponents couldn’t have this study done in 6 months.

    • Anonymous

      Oops, I stand corrected – the study has to go for at least 18 months, since that is what they claim tro be the effective time.  So it will take the length of a Masters thesis. But if this is serious, then this should be done immediately.

  • Anonymous

    Needs to be validated. I agree with the skepticism over this ‘findings.’ It has to undergo clinical studies to validate the claim. 

  • Sol Dolor Jr


    So you are a scientist and yet you are skeptical, what is that ? think before proving?

    Scientists prove first before thinkng.. that is how they do it..

    why don’t you test the product first before you talk and talk??????

    What you did was you read the news and you made generalization based on personal reasoning..

    The study they made is way way better than your skepticism….

  • Anonymous

    bruce fife has claimed so many things about vco. claims he said were based on experiments and facts. yet until now, he doesn’t even have a single sci paper in pubmed. alzheimer’s and aids are serious diseases with different causes and symptoms. yet fife claims he has a single cure. very hard to believe if one uses is own coconut. i would not go as far as think that there is a conspiracy between him and the coconut industry. because i would rather assume that fife’s intentions are good. but he should understand that claims on vco will always remain folkloric to ME and others unless reviewed and repeatedly tested by others, and published in respected journals.

  • Anonymous

    Sol Dolor, 
    Scientists are supposed to be skeptical.  That is part of our training.  I am not sure what study you are referring to – if it was just based on Dr. Newport’s husband, that is not adequate – the sample size is 1.  the FDA did not approve MCTs as having therapeutic value (that’s what the article said), so the FDA does not think any use in Alzheimer’s cure has been proved.  I checked the international PubMed literature database, which lists all research publications in the world in reputable scientific journals over the last 50 years.  There are NO scientifically accepted research publications on coconut oil and Alzheimer’s.  There are NO published clinical studies on MCTs and Alzheimer’s. The study is easy enough to do (as I mention in other comments), and the burden of proof is on the VCO proponents that VCO really arrests Alzheimers. So I am curious why VCO or MCT proponents have bone done them?  I mean, seriously, if this were true, billions of dollars and a Nobel Prize would be their reward. Which is why, since they have been claiming this since 2002 and they haven’t done it (or published it), yes I am skeptical.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Coconut oil as food for the brain and as cure for alzheimer, and possibly Parkinsons. Why not for other diseases of the brain such as dementia,schizophenia and all brain malfunctions and depressions.
    Another area of body disfunction science has not seriously considered is cancer in the body. But some scientific breakthrough has appeared in Mexico and the Philippines decades ago. Extracts from the humble cassava root have been found effective for treating some forms of cancer. It kills the cancer cells, arrests its growth, removes the pain. Tumours disappear even from eating small pieces of the cassava itself. Its by-product is cyanide, a very powerful chemical use. If cancer is the number one killer disease, the scientific exploration should be exploited.

  • Anonymous

    Filipinos, we are all noble people..Coconut VCO is very effective to all kind of sickness varies on proper uses..i myself to testify the wonder vco medicine, every 3 months i’m on leaved and i cannot go back to my OFW job without my 3 months supply of vco.. also coconut buko once a day will make a man wise and healthy, and helps our economy.. Tree of Life our our presidents,priests and people…vco or buko a day sickness of corruptions will resolved away..cocowisdom will cured our corrupted minds for why  Almighty God created coconut shell in likeness to our heads to us to know the reasons..the knowledge of what is right and the knowledge of what is means of tree of life coconut to complement as Jesus said, whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life..a tree that bears fruits 12x a year and the leaves will be the healing of all nations…before i have so many inquiry for lack of wisdom..vco and buko has spiritual energy of wisdom, i am so happy to know, Filipinos, we are all loving people..Lolo seraph        (also rizal-cocowisdom-genius means filipinos)

  • joe

    sabi nga ng mga matatanda ” USE YOUR COCONUT SHELL” pag nag sosolve ng problema. ehehhehe

  • Anonymous

    Sigurado tataas ang price ng virgin coconut oil, tila wala rin kuwenta baka maging presyo pa ng gasolina at diesel yan. Huag na lang gamitin, tubig na mainit na lang

    • dennis t


      • Anonymous

        Ikaw may topak

      • Anonymous

        tanga ka rin

  • Anonymous

    OLIVE OIL is to Italy as COCONUT OIL (VCO) is to PH.  

    Isang produkto na tunay na ma-ipagmamalaki ng mga Pinoy.

  • Anonymous

    Why do you think Pfizer, Merck other big companies are not testing it?  Simple enough, they will not be able to patent it because it is a natural food.  What money can they earn from it if they can’t control its production?  It is similar to those food that have antioxidant properties, do you know of any drug that are anti-oxidant made by these drug companies?   What they can make money though is through genetically modified food, which they can control.  This my friend didn’t undergo farther test on the effect to humans but a lot of us (willingly or unwillingly) became the test specimen.  Only time will tell if these are really bad for us, which is similar to margarine that replaced the butter and coconut oil in the diet of a lot of people  Right now margarine is considered bad for our health because it is transfat.  Only Mary Enig has the balls before to fight the industry about the dangers of margarine and she has been proven right as the health food industry right now are shying away from using transfat substances like margarine and hydrogenated oils.

  • Anonymous

    “Virgin coconut oil hailed as cure for Alzheimer’s”…. good news but old news.

    This is really true that coconut is cure for Alzheimer. I am a living witness of this miracle tree of life.
    Yong Lolo ko uli uli o uliayanin o sa English may Alzheimer na.
    Ang ginawa naglakad sa ilalim  ng puno ng niyog, niyugyog, nabagsakan sa ulo ng niyog, ayon tumino na pero may bukol.

    It means the cure is not the content or coconut meat but the coconut shell itself. When doing be sure that the coconut is tuyo or dry and not buko or sariwa dahil pag buko pa mabigat baka di lang bukol kundi sementeryo  pa.

    How could we know if the coconut is virgin or not? Does it mean the coconut has not been climb yet by magtutuba, as you know when he climbs he is in a very awkward position.




    • Anonymous

      This is really true that coconut is cure for Alzheimer. I am a living witness of this miracle tree of life.
      Yong Lolo ko uli uli o uliayanin o sa English may Alzheimer na.
      Ang ginawa naglakad sa ilalim  ng puno ng niyog, niyugyog, nabagsakan sa ulo ng niyog, ayon tumino na pero may bukol.

      you should’ve walked with your lolo under the tree… you would have been smarter!

  • Joseph Silva

    coco processing prevent cancer illment

  • Anonymous

    This is one good news for the coconut industry, the Filipino medical community and our country as a whole. Gov’t must set aside part of the Coco Levy Fund, amounting to more than 100B pesos, to finance further research on this matter. Calling DOH and DOST !!

  • J

    There are two type of dementia I know that is not curable with VCO.
    1. Those with utang that do not have any intention to pay them
    2. Those being questioned at the Senate and Congress.
    But those being ask to attend the hearing and is always sick, maybe they need VCO!

    • oscar

      So we suggest that the senators should have in handy a bulk of Virgin Coco Oil during their hearings.The only problem is if the resource persons invoke their right to vomit everytime they are asked to ingest it. They would also need a lot of Arenola!

      • Debbie Aquino


    • Victoria

      J, You’re hilarious. I was hoping I could recommend VCO to my family back home. I am pretty sure they promised to pay me when they made utang years ago, with that were promises to pay me interests as well. Oh, well…I’m not losing hope yet. pigs might fly one day!!! Jokingly aside, my Lola was a firm believer in VCO. She was nuts with coconuts, from husk to water.She died at age 114, and her memory was amazingly clear. She can name all her 30 grandchildren, with their respective parents, their jobs, their birthdays, etc. The one thing I remember of her over coconut use was her hair smells coconut oil after she washes it with water dripping of coconut charcoal as her shampoo. She had  jet black hair , and with only few greys. 

  • Anonymous

    Virgin coconut oil hailed as cure for Alzheimer’s…. Good news to coconut producing countries bad news to Filipino coconut farmers.
    Why? The Supreme Court has decided in favor of Danding Cojuanco that SMC shares were not part  of coco levy fund.
    This means that the government  has an incurable disease of Alzheimer forgetting the farmers.
    On the other hand, forget about that coconut cure, let’s just use coconut to make our favorite

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand why the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this AXONA (experimental drug AC-1202)  as a medical food for treatment
    of Alzheimer’s disease with no therapeutic claims, if there is no therapeutic effect why DFA gave the approval? What the meaning of VCO ? On the other hand since Dr. Bruce Fife has been active in the coconut industry for 35 years, and is a director of the Philippine Coconut Authority governing board, is he related to Danding Cojuanco ? because they have the same interest.

  • Anonymous

    “She knew as a pediatrician that babies needed to develop their brains with the right brain foods and MCT was found in great quantities in VCO,the OIL EXTRACTED FROM COCONUT MEAT’

    I think our mothers were more of a scientists instinct.
    As you know the average pinoy family were 8 to 10 children, moms dried up breastmilk fast and their boobs can be hanged on shoulders; condensed milk was precious then, and infant milk like enfamil and bonna were for the rich kids only. 

    Our mothers used “gata ng niyog” as substitute milk to their children. And the sapal is used for pig feed at the backyard. In short, we grew up drinking coconut milk.
    The result of this VCO is evident among us filipinos, we don’t have Alzheimer or late to have one but our brains don’t develop much as we are content on discussing nonsense.

    • Anonymous

      Manggoding,, you nailed it hard on the head….but who is to blame? radio commentators don’t talk about good things but the bad things….newspapers talk about government failures and politics … the good accomplishments are left to the dogs…corruption is always the headline which in return being retained in the minds of the citizenry…..

  • Anonymous

    …hay salamat naman at may iba nang negosyo mga buko farmer as VCO at ndi na lang lagi buko pie…luluwag na rin ang trapik jan sa los banos dahil sa mga pesterng pumipila sa buko pie na yan…

  • Sokor Park

    This is so galing!  Aside from cure for Alzheimer’s, we should also promote VCO as a good alternative to KY petrojelly.  It’s been proven effective in greasing and easing entry into pleasurable orifices.  Mabuhay ka VCO! Mabuhay ka Dutch East Indies!

  • Christine

    The article sounds more like an promotional adverti-news for the coconut industry/book authors a ‘cure’ for alzheimers.  It sounds like a food supplement at best. Quite misleading!

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